* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.1 pct
* Volumes low as public holiday in most of Europe
* Gecina drops as Metrovacesa sells stake
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, June 9 The Italian and Spanish stock
markets slightly outperformed on Monday, as European shares
built on last week's rally to leave key regional indexes
hovering near multi-year highs.
Italy's FTSE MIB equity index rose 0.2 percent
while Spain's IBEX advanced 0.4 percent, beating a 0.1
percent rise on Germany's DAX, as investors stepped up
bets that southern European markets would benefit most from the
European Central Bank's economic stimulus measures last week.
The ECB cut interest rates, launched a series of measures to
pump money into the euro zone economy and pledged to do more if
needed to fight off the risk of Japan-like deflation, sparking a
rally in European equities.
The Italian and Spanish markets are more heavily weighted
towards "cyclical" stocks such as banks, which often outperform
in a strengthening economic cycle, than other European markets.
Luca Paolini, chief strategist at Pictet Asset Management,
said he would favour such "cyclical" equity sectors for now,
while Saxo Banque trader Pierre Martin said the trend for
European stock markets remained positive.
"A lot of indexes have crossed above key resistance levels
last week, and the positive trend continues," said Martin.
"Overall, it's a great scenario for equities: very low
interest rates, very low inflation, and the U.S. and European
economies in recovery mode," he added.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.2
percent to 1,391.36 points, its highest level since early 2008.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also advanced by 0.1 percent to 3,297.54 points, having earlier
hit a near six-year high of 3,302.77 points.
Trading volumes were thin due to a public holiday in a
number of countries including Germany and France, although stock
markets remained open across the region, apart from a few
countries including Switzerland, Austria and Greece.
Shares in France's Gecina dropped 3.2 percent
after Spanish builder Metrovacesa said it agreed to sell its 27
percent stake in the firm at a discount.
"Considering that the deal seems to be at the same price
level as several months ago, and that it is not an attractive
price for Metrovacesa, it is likely that the Spanish company is
in a hurry to get fresh cash for its refinancing," Societe
Generale analysts wrote in a note.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Toby
Chopra and Louise Heavens)